Best 4-Cup Coffee Makers – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

A great cup of coffee at home or work is a great way to start the day or power through the afternoon. If you need something a little larger than a single-serve machine but not as roomy as a 12-cup machine, you need a 4-cup coffee machine.

We have found and reviewed the best 4-cup coffee makers on the market. In this article, you will find in-depth reviews, as well as an FAQ section, and buying guide.

Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker

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Highlights:

  • Stain-resistant heating plate 
  • Auto-Pause so you can pour a cup mid-brew
  • Water window for spill-free pouring

Our top pick is the unbelievably affordable Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker, coming in at number one. Aside from the super-cheap price, this is an excellent drip-style coffee maker with simple construction and fool-proof operation.

The overall design is simple, with black or white plastic housing, flip-top lid for the coffee filter and water tank, and a transparent water tank window so you can see where the water level is. While plastic isn’t as durable or aesthetically pleasing as stainless steel, it is still very long-wearing and well worth the low price. 

The coffee carafe as a 4-cup capacity (of course), with a large handle and knuckle guard for safe, burn-free pouring. The carafe sits on top of a heating plate that keeps the brewed coffee hot for as long as you require it to. 

The real charm of this model is the utter simplicity and fuss-free design. It’s ideal for people who simply want 4 cups of hot coffee with no more than the flick of a switch. The low cost and ease of use make it ideal for students, people on tight budgets, offices, or people who do not need extra features.

Pros 👍
✔ Keeps coffee hot
✔ Great value for money
✔ Durable for the price
✔ Compact design

Cons 👎
✘ No auto-off function
✘ No permanent filter included

View Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker on Amazon

Cuisinart DCC-450 4-Cup Coffee Maker

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Highlights:

  • Stainless steel carafe
  • Automatic shut-off after 30 minutes 
  • Warming plate 
  • Brew-pause for mid-brew pouring

The runner-up spot goes to the Cuisinart 4-Cup Coffee Maker, a popular, compact, and straightforward machine. The footprint of this model is small enough to be placed comfortably in a small space. 

The construction is simple, with a BPA-free plastic housing, warming plate, and only one control button (on/off). However, the carafe is made from stainless steel, a “pro” for longevity and temperature preservation. What’s more, it’s more aesthetically pleasing than a glass carafe, many would say. You will need to buy your own filters, either paper or a reusable filter if you want to cut down on costs. 

The price, (like most 4-cup coffee makers) is excellent, and more than makes up for the simplicity of the machine. In saying that, not everyone wants a high-tech coffee machine with customizable options, buttons, and dials. The beauty of the Cuisinart 4-Cup Coffee Maker is that it does one job, and does it well. This is ideal for people who favor hot, drip-style coffee with the option of having an extra cup or two. 

This model switches off 30 minutes after the brew cycle has finished. This is a great feature for safety, as it can be easy to forget that the coffee pot is on. What’s more, it helps to preserve energy.

Pros 👍
✔ Small footprint
✔ Safe and energy-efficient (auto shut-off)
✔ Simple to use
✔ Easy to clean

Cons 👎
✘ Reports of rusting warming plate
✘ The lid causes spillages when pouring
✘ Drips onto the warming plate

View Cuisinart DCC-450 4-Cup Coffee Maker on Amazon

Gevi 4-Cup Coffee Maker

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Highlights:

  • BPA-free plastic 
  • Shatterproof glass carafe with knuckle guard
  • Warming plate
  • Permanent filter

Number three on our list is the Gevi 4-Cup Coffee Maker. The dimensions of this model are excellent for very small, compact spaces. For example, you could tuck this unit into a small kitchenette or use it at a holiday home or cabin. It makes simple, drip-style coffee, and comes with a permanent filter so all you need to provide is the coffee grinds.  

Like the other models on this list, the construction is simple, with BPA-free plastic housing. The carafe is made from sturdy glass, with a thick handle and knuckle guard for comfortable pouring. It sits on a heating plate which keeps the coffee hot for 2 hours after the brewing process. However, the machine itself does not turn off after 2 hours, so you will need to manually switch it off. 

Something to note is that while it is a 4-cup coffee maker, the serving sizes are small. The carafe capacity is about 600ml/20oz, which means that when it is shared 4 ways, each serving is 150ml/5oz. While this may be plenty for some people, others may prefer to divide the carafe by half for a heftier serving, which we understand.

Pros 👍
✔ No need to buy extra filters
✔ Great for small spaces
✔ Easy to clean

Cons 👎
✘ No automatic shut-off
✘ Small serving sizes
✘ Doesn’t remain hot for long enough

View Gevi 4-Cup Coffee Maker on Amazon

Mr. Coffee Simple 4-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

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Highlights:

  • Programmable timer with minute and hour settings
  • Removable filter basket
  • Water tank window 
  • Auto-pause for mid-brew pouring

Our fourth product is another model from Mr. Coffee, a fan-favorite when it comes to affordable coffee makers. It doesn’t break the mold in terms of construction, with plastic housing and a glass carafe. 

However, the defining feature of this model is the programmable timer, which allows you to program your brew cycle down to the minute. Plus, the digital display screen tells you exactly what you’ve programmed. 

This model keeps with the recurring theme of ultra-affordable prices, despite having more advanced technology. Similarly, it features a pause-and-pour function which allows you to pour a fresh cup of coffee before the brewing process is complete. 

For safety and energy efficiency’s sake, the heating element switches off an hour after the coffee has finished brewing. While some may prefer a longer period of heat upkeep, others will see this as a blessing if they have to rush out the door, forgetting to switch off the coffee maker.

Pros 👍
✔ Safe and energy-efficient (auto shut-off)
✔ Brews fresh coffee for wake-up time
✔ Easy to clean

Cons 👎
✘ Heating element prone to failure
✘ Small serving sizes
✘ Reports of plastic smell

View Mr. Coffee Simple 4-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker on Amazon

Elite Cuisine Maxi-Matic 4-Cup Coffee Maker with Pause and Serve

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Highlights:

  • Permanent filter
  • Pause-and-serve function 
  • Dishwasher safe 
  • Warming plate

Coming in at number five is the Elite Cuisine Maxi-Matic 4-Cup Coffee Maker. This model shares the common feature of a plastic housing and glass carafe construction, like the previous four picks on our list. However, it has a slightly different silhouette and moving parts. The filter casing has a tapered shape, with a swing-out function to allow for easy filter refilling. 

One important thing to note is that this does not have an auto shut-off function, so the heating element will remain on until you turn it off. While this may be a “pro” for some people, or simply a non-issue, for others it can be a hassle to have to remember to turn the machine off.

This is a great choice for you if you just want something small, compact, super-cheap, easy, fuss-free, and which makes a decent cup of coffee.

Pros 👍
✔ Easy to clean
✔ Very compact
✔ Value for money

Cons 👎
✘ No auto shut-off
✘ Coffee not hot enough for some
✘ Sub-part filter

View Elite Cuisine Maxi-Matic 4-Cup Coffee Maker on Amazon

How to Choose a 4-Cup Coffee Maker 

Price and value

Luckily, most 4-cup coffee makers are incredibly affordable and fall into the “budget-friendly” category. 

All of the options on our list are extremely cost-effective, so much so that you won’t need to budget or factor in payments (unlike high-end espresso machines, for example). This does mean that they are made with plastic as opposed to more durable materials. 

Size and storage

Where your 4-cup coffee maker will be set-up is an important factor to consider. A machine that is too large for a compact space will end up getting in the way and become a nuisance. 

Factor in power cords, the overall footprint, and especially the height of the machine. 

If you’re planning on slotting it under a cabinet or shelf, take some measurements to avoid frustration upon arrival. Plus, consider the fact that coffee makers to create heat, so you won’t want to tuck it too closely next to other items or kitchen structures. 

Heating pads and auto-off functions 

If you’re planning on using your coffee maker in the morning before work, it’s smart to choose one with an auto-off feature. This means that the heating pad and (sometimes) the machine itself will switch off after a certain period once the brewing process has completed. 

This is not only safe, but it keeps your coffee from burning, and your power bill from rising. 

Customizable options 

While many if not most 4-cup coffee makers follow a one-touch button operation style, some have extra features. 

For example, programmable timers can be set so that the brewing process starts at a specific time. This can be a fun feature to consider, as fresh coffee upon waking is always a great thing for coffee lovers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a 4-cup coffee maker take to brew?

It does depend on the brand and model, and how clean the coffee maker is. Sometimes, a slow brew time comes down to the fact that the machine has a calcium build-up and requires a cleaning cycle. Most well-running 4-cup coffee makers should take around 5 minutes to brew four cups. However, many models have a pause-and-serve function so you don’t have to wait for the brewing cycle to finish before you can pour a cup.

What kind of coffee should I use in a 4-cup coffee maker?

You can use any type of ground coffee you like. No matter the method you are using, freshly-ground coffee will provide the best flavor. When it comes to the grind size, aim for a medium grind (if grinding coffee beans yourself) for permanent, metal filters.

For paper filters, aim for medium-fine grind size. Drip coffee is more forgiving than certain other methods, so you’ve got room to experiment and find the best grind size for your filter and taste preference.

The general rule to remember is that the finer the grind, the more chance there is for bitter coffee. The coarser the grind, the more chance of weak coffee.

How much coffee should I put in a 4-cup coffee maker?

It’s common knowledge (among coffee fanatics) that the ratio for coffee makers is 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 ounces of water. To make it a little easier, you could figure out a “per cup” ratio. We recommends starting with 1 ½ tablespoons of ground coffee per cup and see if you’re happy with the strength and flavor.

How do I use a 4-cup coffee maker?

While each make and model will have a specified manual, the process is pretty universal and incredibly simple. Most 4-Cup coffee makers such as the ones on our list do not offer customizable options or variables you have to control. It’s really just a matter of adding coffee and water and waiting for the brewing process to start. 

  • Make sure it’s plugged in and turned on
  • Fill your filter with coffee grounds 
  • Fill the water tank
  • Select any available features such as programmable timers
  • Switch the “on” or brew button
  • Wait for your coffee to brew